But then, we noticed that another member of Hollywood was going against the grain. Christian Stolte is a familiar face for fans of Prison Break and Chicago Fire, and over several days, the clever actor skewered Scientology and the people who have been criticizing Remini.
And now that we’ve talked to him, we’ve learned he’s a complete riot.
We first noticed his online wit when we saw how he answered a plaintive cry by Scientologist actor Bodhi Elfman (husband to Jenna Elfman).
After several days of sniping aimed at Leah Remini and things heating up on both sides, Elfman attempted to calm things down with this appeal to religious tolerance. But Stolte gave him a reply he probably wasn’t expecting…
That got us to looking through Stolte’s feed, and we found this bon mot…
And when Jim Meskimen (son of Marion Ross, longtime Scientologist, and current competitor on America’s Got Talent) added an attagirl to Kirstie Alley’s jab that we interpreted as a swipe at Remini, Stolte jumped on it…
And one more, just for the laughs…
It turns out that Stolte is a longtime reader of The Underground Bunker, and he’s commented from time to time, but under an identity that we’re not going to reveal.
He spoke to us from Chicago, where the filming for the second season of Chicago Fire has just begun, but he made it very clear that he was speaking only for himself and not “any producers, creators, sponsors, viewers, or anyone who employs me or has ever employed me.”
After that thorough disclaimer, we got down to business.
What do you think about Leah Remini’s defection — not only that she’s left, but the way she’s left, reportedly with concerns about Shelly Miscavige, “disconnection,” interrogations, and the treatment of Sea Org workers?
Knowing nothing more about this subject than any of your other readers, Leah Remini’s public defection seems to have an authenticity to it that I find encouraging. Like the respective journeys of Paul Haggis, and Jason Beghe, and the Fagens (and others in increasing numbers), and like those poor souls who were given the gift of Scientology from their sorrily indoctrinated parents, like Astra Woodcraft and Jenna Miscavige, and (as I recall) the Headleys, Leah Remini seemed to have reached a point in the road — or “up” that imaginary bridge — where her basic sense of human dignity somehow overpowered all the intricate control mechanisms of the cult. If I’m right about that, then I have to say I like the cut of her jib.
Listen, any human being walks away from Scientology, that’s a good thing. But not every exit merits such fanfare. Some people leave after decades-long careers of doing the church’s dirtiest dirty work, and expect to be embraced by the world outside without the slightest attempt at making amends for their crimes. People who should at the very least be testifying against the church, against Miscavige, even where such testimony incriminates themselves.
Is Scientology losing influence in the movie and television industries?
I don’t think I’m in a position to answer that one. I’ve never been privileged to that kind of inside-showbiz power-broker scuttlebutt. It sure seems the church is losing influence in the world in general, so it might be fair to assume they’re currently sliding towards abject irrelevance in that realm as well. Here I confess to a wishful bias, so my assumption is not all that objective.
Do you have any interesting experiences working with Scientologist actors?
The only person that springs to mind is Giovanni Ribisi. I didn’t get to know him well, but “working together” in this case involved hanging out in the same cluster of actors a couple-few times, including one long night that stretched into morning. In my experience, he was extraordinarily kind, and unassuming, and just generally a smart and charming and likable fellow. He is not the enemy.
Have you shared with fellow Chicago Fire actor and ex-church member Jason Beghe your feelings about Scientology?
I’ve been lucky to have had a few conversations with Jason, but we’ve barely spoken about Scientology at all. There are — thankfully — other things to talk about, and he’s an interesting man. But he knows how I feel about it. I contacted him on Facebook two or three years ago. Gave him a thumbnail sketch of my situation vis-à-vis Scientology, and thanked him for putting himself on the front lines with that Mark Bunker interview. Seriously, I’d never seen anything like it. Commanding. Undeniable. That same unflinching integrity he brings to the table as an actor. I admire the hell out of him.
Are you concerned, being as vocal as you were the other day, that it might negatively affect your career?
See, here’s the interesting thing. My friction with this cult goes back almost two decades. Through those years, the idea that my “career” is something anybody would bother to “ruin” has not really been a concern of mine. But I do know they’ll do what they can to ruin your life. I think that always tempered me somewhat, because I had more at stake back then. Even then, though, I reasoned you’d have to be a pretty big target for them to bother with you; they’d have to perceive you as a significant threat. I don’t think I’ve ever qualified.
Flash forward to 2013 — At this point in the game, their vendetta machine has become kind of a joke, hasn’t it? I don’t find myself worried about it much. With all that’s on their plate these days, I don’t imagine them having a lot of venom to spare for me. They’re pretty predictable, though, aren’t they? If they were to address my appearance here at all, I’d be brushed aside with an “Oh, he’s just another desperate D-list actor, looking for attention.” As if that’s how show-business works.
Could it, though, have some negative effect on my career? I really don’t know. I suppose if some action were ever taken against me because of my views, it could take the form of a single phone call I never even hear about. “Don’t hire this guy – he’s trouble. He’s an alcoholic. A junkie. A prostitute. A cannibal. He once enslaved a population.” I’m not saying that kind of “black PR” skullduggery couldn’t happen. But if I’m confronted point-blank, I’ll have no problem standing up for my opinions.
And I’m certainly not afraid of these fumbling buffoons. The big scary vindictive church is toothless, dull-witted and comically out of touch with contemporary society. I won’t apologize for having a critical view of this evil cult. My “opinion” of Scientology can’t be dismissed, because it isn’t even an opinion. It’s a massive compilation of documented crimes.
Leah Remini, we hear, is still taking it hard that she’s been abandoned by so many former friends. If you could say something to Leah, what would you tell her?
I’m sure it’s painful and confusing to be treated so unfairly by “the most ethical people on the planet.” I don’t imagine this is an easy transition for anybody. In fact, by Hubbard’s design, leaving Scientology is meant to be a form of psychological torture. It is meant to take a terrible toll on you. But by now it must have occurred to you that all this ugly, punitive, juvenile behavior just confirms your worst suspicions about them – that this “church” doesn’t care about you, and they never did. That for all their public denial, the practice of Disconnection remains a cornerstone of Scientology. And that in fact, this organization’s happy-crappy propaganda misrepresents virtually every aspect of their operation.
So you’ve been lied to by these people, Leah, on a daily basis, for decades. It must be staggering to have to process a truth like that. But when the dust settles, there’s no doubt you’ll come out of this a happier, healthier, saner person. No longer will your relationships be controlled and monitored by a malignant overseer. No more sec-checks. No more shelling out your hard-earned cash for yet another big empty building. Your life belongs to you now. And there’s a whole world out here that thinks what you’ve done is pretty great.
We looked around online and found this segment of Stolte talking about his Chicago Fire character, Randy “Mouch” McHolland. Now you have even more reason to tune in, Bunkerites.
Now, back to our regular weekly feature, Sunday Funnies, when we look at the wacky stuff sent in by our tipsters.
Cute slogan. But for a Scientology publication, maybe a bit too Orwellian…
Scientology opened its Portland Ideal Org just in time — check out these stats!
Marc Headley is having too much fun — he had a staffer at the Boston Org take this shot of him when he was in town this week visiting!
Posted by Tony Ortega on July 28, 2013 at 07:00
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